PUPILS will be taught mathematics by the same teacher as they move through primary and secondary school under a radical scheme to improve standards.

Glasgow University has developed the scheme to train “middle teachers” who will improve expertise in primary as well as working with pupils as they progress into secondary.

The move comes after the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) paved the way for dual registration between different sectors in January last year.

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Councils have welcomed the proposals because they allow subject experts from secondary to be drafted in to primary schools to develop expertise.

The policy of using teachers across different sectors would also allow local authorities greater flexibility over staff at a time when budgets are being cut and the number of classroom and support staff has fallen.

Edinburgh University's Moray House School of Education is also to launch a similar programme in September this year which will include training for specialists in computing science, English, mathematics and physics.

Professor Trevor Gale, head of the School of Education at Glasgow University, said the new programme to develop “middle years teachers” would focus on maths.

He said: “This will be a teacher who can teach at primary school, but who could also teach at the lower end of secondary school.

“What we know from research is that when pupils move from primary to secondary their academic achievement drops, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds and particularly in maths.

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“These teachers could potentially move from the upper end of primary school with the students as they move into secondary and help with that transition.”

Mr Gale said the initiative would allow teachers to help pupils at critical times in their school career when they sit new standardised assessments in P7 and S3.

He also believes it will suit different types of teachers to specialise with age groups they enjoy working with.

He added: “We think this is of benefit because there are particular kinds of teachers who like to work with that middle range age group and that could bring new people into the profession.

“The other advantage is that it allows specialist mathematics teacher in secondary to focus on the upper end of the year group where that expertise is needed most.”

Mr Gale went on to highlight a separate recruitment campaign by the university to encourage teachers from Ireland to come to Scotland to help fill vacancies in Catholic schools.

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Last year it emerged many Catholic schools were facing a recruitment crisis with a shortage of both teachers and headteachers.

The dire position prompted Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia to issue an urgent plea to Catholics working in non-denominational schools to return to the fold.

Archbishop Tartaglia also called for more young Catholics to consider a career in the teaching profession.

Glasgow University is seeking to attract 15 teachers from Ireland in the first year of the initiative with a subsequent doubling of numbers once the programme becomes established.

Mr Gale said: “We have developed a Masters degree where we are seeking to attract teachers from Ireland to come to Scotland, partly to see if they want to teach in Catholic schools.

“Catholic schools and particularly Catholic primary schools are short of teachers and there is an over-supply of teachers in Ireland.

“We are having conversations with councils who are looking for posts to be filled on the understanding that students will work in a school for four days with the fifth day being spent re-orientating to what we do in Scotland in terms of the curriculum.”

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “This positive action by Glasgow University to address the shortages of Catholic teachers is a welcome move which we hope will contribute to a long-term solution to the problem.”